Quite regularly, on various wedding related Facebook groups, the question is asked ‘do I need to feed my photographer at my wedding’. The quick and easy answer is ‘check your contract’ and ‘ask your photographer’.
However, there are often replies such as ‘I don’t get fed at work, why should I be feeding my suppliers’.
On the surface, it can seem a reasonable response – after all you’re already paying a handsome fee for their services – why should you pay further to feed them?
As an All Wedding DJ and Host, it’s a clause within my contract that I require a hot meal to be provided when performing for the day. If I’m just providing the evening entertainment, I don’t require anything to be provided.
Typically, many suppliers who provide an all day service often have this in their contract. I’m not so convinced that it’s particularly necessary for a band that are performing for two hours; despite them often requesting food, or raiding your evening buffet!
If I were to need to source a meal myself, this would be a cost of my business – just like the cost of my equipment – so would need to be passed on in a higher fee anyway. Should you be in the fortunate position of the venue/caterers not charging you for supplier meals, then you actually save money, compared to me including an ‘average’ hot meal cost within my price.
So why do I require a hot meal?
The good news is that this decision is reached purely for the benefit of the brides and grooms I perform for. Every decision I make is designed to reduce the risk of anything going wrong at their wedding.
When you consider a typical all day wedding, for a 1pm ceremony, I’ll be arriving on site at 11am. That means leaving home soon after breakfast. With a midnight finish, I’ll be packed away and departing the venue at 1am, so back home for around 2am. That’s 14 hours on site – and longer away from home. Typically, that means I’m away for 2 meal times. I’m very happy to bring sandwiches for my lunch, but it’s not feasible to produce a hot meal myself for my dinner.
Here are the considerations I made to arrive at the decision to require the bride/groom to supply the hot meal.
Food is fuel for our body. A wedding day is an intense day, and stressful for suppliers, as we want to make sure that your day is perfect. We need lots of energy to keep us alert and at peak performance during the day.
Whilst there are occasionally venues that have a bar where hot food can be purchased, in many cases, the venues I perform at are exclusive to the bride and groom for their day. Which means the kitchen aren’t open for anything other than the wedding breakfast. Equally, when I perform at a marquee, there won’t be any catering facilities other than that provided by the caterer. I could leave the site and venture somewhere nearby for a hot meal, but I wouldn’t want to risk leaving the venue during the day – any traffic delays, or worse, a breakdown, could delay my return to the venue. Equally, during the wedding breakfast, I am still keeping an ear out to ensure all music is playing correctly and at an appropriate level. I’d hate to be off-site when something needs to adjusted to the music. Additionally, there have been times when the bride and groom have decided to change the schedule, and conduct the speeches between the main course and dessert. That’s absolutely fine to do when I’m on site – but if I’ve left the site and don’t think I’m due back until after dessert, then you won’t be able to make those changes.
As mentioned earlier, I’m happy to bring sandwiches for my lunch, which are consumed within a matter of hours of leaving home. Beyond this, I wouldn’t want to try and keep food cool, especially in the height of summer. The last thing I want is to get food poisoning from a sandwich that’s been kept in a warm car for 10 hours. Whilst it may not affect your wedding – it might well affect the next wedding I’m performing at, and I do everything possible to keep myself fit and healthy. Few venues will permit outside food to be brought in and stored in their fridges, and even fewer would allow you to ‘heat your own food’ from a ready meal.
So the practicalities of suppliers providing their own food are very limited, and fraught with risk, that we don’t want to take for the fear of it causing an issue to your wedding.
As suppliers, we don’t require a seat at your tables – we’ll happily sit discretely in another room to consume our food whilst you enjoy your wedding breakfast. And we don’t even require the full wedding breakfast – any standard hot meal is fine. However, in most occasions, what happens is the venue always over-cater for the wedding breakfast, so we’re simply served the left over food once all of your guests have been fed.
The decision for all day suppliers to request food is very reasonable – and with your best intentions at heart.
Any supplier requesting a meal should make this requirement clear in their contract. Should you be unwilling to provide food, it’s best to raise this before you sign your contract so that an alternative agreement can be met.
But for those suppliers who are on site all day with you, working to make your dream wedding a reality, a little fuel can really help us create an amazing day for you.